The number of new housing consents jumped in April, as the residential construction sector showed tentative signs of recovery.
Residential consents have been falling for nearly two years, hitting record lows at the start of 2009.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, just over 1000 consents were issued in April.
Statistics New Zealand says this was an increase of 11.2% from March but still down 55% from a peak in June 2007.
Excluding apartment consents, which can be volatile, consent numbers were up 4.5% on the previous month.
While the sector is starting to recover, New Zealand Institute of Economic Research economist Shamubeel Eaqub says consent numbers are still very weak.
Meanwhile, the value of non-residential consents hit $530 million in April - the highest since the series began in 1965. The figure was boosted by development at Christchurch airport.